As a teenager, my hobby was photography. I heard there was an opening in the camera department at Cinetone Studio’s in Amsterdam, I applied and got the job. When a film came up, I had the opportunity to follow the whole process- set construction, lighting, laboratory, projection, all in-house.
l“Make sure you have a good, well exposed negative.” Chief Lab taught me
’A Dog of Flanders’ (1959) Colour and CinemaScope. Otto Heller was the cinematographer. I had read all about colour film-colour temp, filters, etc. and when I saw on open arc on the set and no filter on the camera, I asked him something like ‘is that correct?’ He answered;” Doesn’t it look lovely?” I had to agree.
l” Once you know the rules, you can break them.”
In the following years I progressed in the normal way: assistant, focus and then started with documentaries, experimental films and commercials. That is how I met Geoff Reeve. He invited me to do a series of commercials. On one of these jobs I met my second wife-to-be, Nancye. She was on a working holiday in the UK from Australia. Enough reason for me to move to the UK.
I was now commuting between Holland and the UK., doing a couple of features and TV series there and also in Germany and South Africa.
My first big break was “The Shooting Party” (1985). Geoff Reeve, producer.
l A great learning curve was to study Jack Cardiff’s lighting while doing second unit on ‘The Far Pavilions’ (1984)
In 1986 Sir Sydney Samuelson invited me to join the BSC, a wonderful experience to be recognised by your peers for your work.
On the ill-fated series TECX (1990) I met Antonia Bird. I did the TVfilms “Safe” (1993),“Priest” (1994) which was blown up and released as a feature, and the features “Mad Love” (1995) and “Face” (1997) for her.
l ‘Make sure you have light in the actor’s eyes’. (Antonia)
Deirdre Keir offered me to do an episode of ‘Hamish McBeth’ (1995) with Nick Renton directing. I had worked with Nick on ‘A landing on the Sun’ (1994) In the end I did 11 of the 20 episodes.
In 1999 I photographed ‘Wives and Daughters’ for him. This earned me a nomination and a BAFTA
‘Daniel Deronda’ (2000) brought me another Bafta nomination. I declined to be in the running for the award because of the (strained) relationship with this director.
l 'Don't sit on your high horse'
In 2003 Nancye and I moved to Australia.
In 2004 I returned to do 4 double episodes of ‘Dalziel and Pascoe’. For tax reasons I could only do 3 (186 days’ rule)
That was the end of my ‘film’ career as digital took over.
KODAK awards: The Man Who Cried (1993)
BAFTA: Wives and Daughters (1999)
Wives and Daughters (1999)
The Shooting Party (1985)